Is anything over 20 minutes away worth leaving the house for? According to new research from ING, 86% of Aussies families* are saying yeah, nah.
Yup, over 3 quarters of families that are looking to (or thinking of) buying a home want to live in are a ‘20-minute neighbourhood’. What is that, you ask? Well, if your daily needs can be met within a 20-minute walk, drive, or cycle from your front door, you already live in one.
They’re all the rage, and that’s no surprise. It’s just another way the heighten cost-of-living and COVID hangover have changed the structural landscape of our lives — and what we want out of them.
For a majority, the most important amenity to have within your radius is the grocery store. Over a third of those surveys want to be closer to work and public transport, and for 18%, being in their favourite restaurant’s delivery zone is at the top of the list. Oh, the things we do for a good green curry.
And it’s not just closer, we’re also going smaller. Low maintenance is where it’s at, with 19% saying they’d actually opt for less outdoor space. Over 100% of dogs disagreed with this — how can a Schnoodle understand that downsizing requires sacrifice?
Is living ‘out of the way’ worth your friends having to pitch in $23.50 each for petrol…just to hang out with you and your family? In times like these, it’s looking like a unanimous ‘no’.
Through the jaded spectacles of our current economy, big just looks like a bigger bill. But there’s a rosier side; we’re starting to prioritise being physically close to our friends and family post-pandemic. For over a fifth of us, it’s the biggest motivator to get in the 20-minute zone.
If you’re sceptical, cast your eyes upon the open sea. France is already one step (and 5 minutes) ahead of us with their ’15-minute’ city. Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, believed in the idea enough to make it the centre of her 2020 re-election campaign. She calls it a “City of Proximities,” and that meaning goes beyond just the physical structures.
Fiona Prater, Head of Mortgages at ING Australia, says on this shift of focus:
“The pace of family life has picked up as we’ve emerged from the pandemic and families are undeniably wanting a more efficient and balanced lifestyle. They’re willing to sacrifice a big home to be closer to amenities, family, friends and work in order to spend more time doing the things that matter most to them with the people they care for most.”
Whatever your reasons, 20-minute neighbourhoods are looking sweeter by the day.
For now, here are some of Fiona Prater’s top tips for Aussie families looking for their ideal home:
- Set a realistic and manageable budget for the home purchase – always leave some wriggle room to ensure you can manage changing circumstances.
- Shop around for a mortgage that suits you! For example if your goal is to pay it off as quickly as possible find a loan where you’re not going to be penalised for contributing more than the minimum repayments and one that has an offset account.
- Consider what features the home and its location need to suit your lifestyle. For example a low maintenance garden, proximity to work and school and within a friendly neighbourhood.
- Be prepared to make some compromises. The perfect home doesn’t always exist but you may be able to put your stamp on it over time.
- Spend time in the locations you like. Talk to local real estate agents, café owners and other families to really get a feel for the neighbourhood.
*Aussie families/ Aussie parents refers to Australians over the age of 18 with kids under the age of 18 living at home.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,015 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th March – 2nd April 2023 and carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (18+).
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